First Minister of Scotland gives public lecture hosted by Trinity’s Long Room Hub

Posted on: 14 February 2008

The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, MSP, gave a public lecture entitled ‘Scotland’s National Conversation: The Next Steps’ in Trinity College on Wednesday, February 13th last. The lecture was hosted by the Trinity Long Room Hub, the research institute for the arts and humanities at TCD.

The First Minister spoke about the experience of the first SNP Government ever to be elected in Scotland, and about the initiative, Choosing Scotland’s Future which asks the people of Scotland to take part in a national conversation about the constitutional changes needed to enable Scotland to reach its full potential and take its rightful place in the modern world. The First Minister considered what lessons Scotland can learn from Ireland’s rich history and from its transition to a successful independent nation.

Speaking at the Long Room Hub lecture, the First Minister, Alex Salmond said: “The Irish model of Social Partnership has laid the foundations for two decades of unrivalled economic progress – by any global standard”.

“To achieve this ambition, we must fashion a strong and enduring social partnership to match that built in Ireland”.

“Ireland has pioneered a Social Partnership model that reaches out beyond government, business and trade unions – to draw in civic institutions, social enterprise, universities and others”.

“Now the Scottish Government is engaging a broad coalition of all the major institutions in Scottish society. These groups are the cornerstones of Scotland’s civic life and define us as a society. It is thanks to our distinctive institutions – our universities, our churches and our legal system – that Scotland has retained a strong and aspirant land during the three centuries that we have been part of the Union. It is these same institutions who now have a vital role to play in shaping the next steps of the National Conversation – actively contributing to the debate on the future of Scotland”.

“What Ireland shows us is that there are few limits to the success of an independent nation united by a common purpose. Now it is time for the people of Scotland to set their ambitions high and determine what powers and responsibilities the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government need to deliver them.”

First minister of scotland, alex salmond